National pro-choice activist Bill Baird will speak about his involvement in the 40-year struggle for abortion rights and its connection with the history of women's rights at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 2, in Taylor Hall, Vassar College.
Baird's lecture, sponsored by the Vassar College Women's Center, is free and open to the public.
Baird will explain the mechanisms behind political strategies for women's rights. This includes the history of abortion, from its illegal origins to the present legalization, and the possibility of overturning decisions like Roe v. Wade. Baird will also discuss the ramifications of interference by religious organizations, such as the Christian Coalition, in women's reproductive healthcare.
Baird is no stranger to opposition, since 1963, he has fought for women's reproductive rights on every level from the abortion clinic to the Supreme Court. After establishing the nation's first non-profit birth control and abortion facility in 1964, he was jailed eight times in five states for lecturing on birth control and abortion rights. He has received death threats and had his clinic attacked by fire and chemical bombs.
As the only non-lawyer in American history with three Supreme Court victories " all concerning reproductive rights " Baird claims responsibility for legalizing birth control for everyone, including unmarried people. Abortion for single women was illegal in 26 states before the 1972 Baird v. Eisenstadt decision overturned it. Baird v. Eisenstadt became the foundation for the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973.
Baird v. Eisenstadt also paved the way for Baird's second and third Supreme Court victories, Baird v. Bellotti I & II, which granted minors the right to abortion without parental veto.
Baird currently serves as the director and founder of the Pro Choice League in Huntington, New York.
For additional information, contact the Office of Campus Activities at (845) 437-5370. Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodations may contact Cathy Jennings, Office of Campus Activities, (845) 437-5370, as far in advance as possible to request appropriate and reasonable accommodations.
Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college founded in 1861.